The chair of the 2008 Twin Cities Heart & Stroke Gala, Franck Gougeon, is well-versed in matters relating to heart disease and stroke as the co-founder and director of AGA Medical, the world-leading manufacturer of transcatheter occlusion devices for the minimally-invasive treatment of heart and vascular defects. AGA’s patented Amplatzer line of devices offers new alternatives to surgery for the treatment of various congenital heart diseases.
As chair of the event, he—along with the help of the American Heart Association staff and a network of personal contacts— assembled a new Executive Leadership Team (ELT) for this year’s event. He points out that all members are key executives in some of the state’s most prestigious companies.
“I am confident that with their support, we will make this year’s Gala a successful event,” he says, adding that he’s hopeful they can bring in more than $745,000—the impressive amount raised for the American Heart Association by last year’s ELT, of which Franck was a member.
Prior to founding AGA Medical, Franck worked for Microvena Corporation (now ev3) where he held various management positions in international sales and clinical/regulatory affairs. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the Ecole Nationale De Commerce in Paris, France. He supports the efforts of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (Advamed), is a member of the AGA Board of Directors, and serves on the board of Children’s Heartlink.
In his spare time he enjoys boating, fishing, and water skiing at his Wisconsin cabin and spending time with his girlfriend and kids, Alexandra, 15, Anton, 12, and Nicolas, 11.
His advice to others is that—contrary to popular belief—heart disease and stroke are not necessarily age-dependent.
“Stroke can affect young age children in the same way heart disease can kill an otherwise very healthy patient,” he says. No matter how young or old we happen to be, “The combination of a healthy diet and exercise regimen must become part of our daily life.”
Jean Holloway is deeply committed to community service and giving back—particularly when it comes to issues affecting women and children—so it seemed like a natural choice to serve as vice chair of the Go Red For Women Luncheon.
“The Luncheon certainly meets my deep commitment to community service,” she says.
As vice chair her duties involve recruiting a team of others to assist in fundraising and reaching out to the local community, and taking every opportunity to educate people about the pervasiveness of heart disease and what we can and should do to reduce its prevalence and impact on us and our loved ones.
“It is important that each of us becomes well educated and takes steps to live healthy lifestyles, as cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans—and much of it is preventable,” she comments.
The issue hits close to him—Jean’s grandmother, father, and mother-in-law all suffered from heart disease. She realizes that family history is a risk factor and strives to keep her heart strong and healthy through running, yoga, and gardening. She minimizes stress through playing the piano, going to the opera, and reading. Her family—husband Dr. Avi Nahum, a physician at Regions Hospital, and their three children, Aaron (25), Ari (22), and Rebecca “Rebi” (20)—are equally active.
Jean graduated from Yale University with an undergraduate degree in biochemical engineering and political science before going on to graduate from the University of Chicago with a law and business degree. She clerked for the Honorable Luther M. Swygert and then worked in private practice for 17 years. She took a year off during that time to serve as the General Counsel for the Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota. Today she is the vice president and senior legal counsel for Medtronic.
This dedicated community activist serves on the Foundation of the Jewish Federation, the Fund for the Legal Aid Society, and the American Refuge Committee. In the past she served on the board of several bar associations, as well as the Governor’s “Action of Children” Commission. She has also volunteered with numerous organizations focusing on women’s and children’s issues.